Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics 2017
By Cynthia Von Buhler
Lettered by Simon Bowland
This series is rated Adults Only
DISCLAIMER: graphic sexuality
A brand new 1920s mystery with a sinister twist! Unappreciated at her father’s detective agency, the fabulous, rabbit-loving Minky Woodcock straps on her gumshoes in order to uncover a magical mystery involving the world-famous escape artist, Harry Houdini.
Already I am already enamoured with this book and this story. From the look of the interiors that Cynthia brings to the timetable this is set at it conspires to be really striking and impactful. That Minky wants to be a Private Detective as her father is and it’s at a time when women in the workplace wasn’t so common and roles were more relegated much to their chagrin. The opening itself is extremely well done and gives us an opportunity to understand Minky just a bit, enough so that we’d like to learn more. I also have to say that it seems she comes from privilege if she’s knows Agatha Christie well enough to send off a letter.
When we see Minky in the office as the office girl puffing away on a cigarette with her pet rabbit as she answers the phone and accepts someone into the office. There is some splendid characterisation and character development in this exchange as well and it’s a wonderfully delightful way to transition from introduction to the main event. I’m impressed with the way the story is structured and how it flows, the transitions are extremely well done and have a very graceful feel to them. While I have not gone and looked at the plethora of material used to construct the events around this story I’ll trust they were judicially used.
The old friend of her father’s who came to hire him and ended up with her demonstrate a few interesting things. Sir Arthur’s mistrust and outright hatred of Houdini and what he says about spiritualism. Who knew the creator of Sherlock Holmes was one who wished to commune with those who passed over? Oh and the lovely woman who conducts the seances well she’s a right one she is and wow was that one hell of a show. Though her parting words and actions might suggest something otherwise ill the interpretation to the reader.
There really is something about the artwork that has this incredibly unique feel to it. There’s a presence about it and it has this that throwback feel to old advertising so it’s outlandish and exaggerated but still beautiful and expressive. I really like the way page layouts are used with their angles and perspective which show off her eye for some really good storytelling. There’s that hint of a time between flappers and a sexual revolt or freedom where morals are loosening a bit and while we don’t see a whole lot of skin it’s just enough to give you that real understanding of what’s happening. I really do think it’s some stellar work.
So with her adventures in spiritualism which renders her first real clue she’s off on a mystery to know why Houdini is Sir Arthur’s target. What better way to do than she kind of stumbles into. We see an interesting bond kind of form a sisterhood of sorts and things will go in a direction I surely wasn’t expecting to see and all through the appreciation and love of animals. If this were indeed how such a meeting took place I find myself extremely jealous of the fact it won’t happen to me and that I didn’t live in this era. Yes I know it wasn’t all roses and the grass is always greener but still the clothes, the attitudes and the whole mystique is rendered so very well.
Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics have yet another gorgeous story on their hands and continue to impress me.